Preparations for J's first foreign trip

  Whew! It's been quite a while since I last blogged but that's probably because I've been distracted with work, family and video games. Anyway, last year we asked kiddo if he wanted to go to Disneyland or go have a birthday party. Last year he wanted a birthday party so we had one at McDonald's and invited all his friends and classmates. This year however he decided he wanted to go to Disneyland so that is what I had to plan for.

Buy your plane tickets
  First of all, you want to get cheap tickets. If you plan this far in advance you can probably wait for a Philippine Airlines sale. I'm not recommending Cebu Pacific because I don't want to worry too much about flights being cancelled or being bumped off a flight when I have my child with me. Other people will remark and say the deals are too good to discount but I'd rather have peace of mind.
 So go ahead and wait for a sale so that you can get a good deal on the those airline tickets. I'm assuming of course that you've also decided when to go. Since kiddo has school, we had to check and see if there was a time when he had a stretch of no school days. We found it in his semestral break.

TIP: use the web check-in to get desired seats ahead of time. PAL's web check-in needs passport details so be sure you have them on hand.

Where to stay?
  After you have tickets the debate over whether to stay at the HK Disneyland hotel or not begins. There are various pros and cons to it. One, if you do stay at that hotel you'll be right where the action is. A friend told me that the Disney characters even go around during breakfast so you'll be able to have your picture taken with them with minimal lines. Apparently in HK Disneyland, you have to line up to have your picture taken with the characters. This is in contrast to what I remember of Disneyland in Anaheim where they just roamed around.

  Secondly, despite us going at the end of October, it was still quite hot. Staying at the Disneyland hotel would mean that you could go in the morning. Return to your hotel at lunch time and then go back to Disneyland in the evening. Don't forget that Disneyland has fireworks every night. We also went during the Halloween celebration so the characters were dressed in their spooky best.

  Lastly, staying at the hotel would mean probably packing up and moving to another hotel once your stay is done. So that is a bit of a hassle.

  After thinking about it I decided that we'll just stay at our usual standby Marco Polo Prince and then just take the MTR to Disneyland. One, less hassle with checking in and all. Plus I think kiddo would enjoy taking the train. So we booked the Marco Polo Prince.

Buy park tickets ahead of time
  Now if you've read my previous travel preparations post you'd know what comes next; purchasing the Disneyland and Ocean Park tickets ahead of time. I love the internet! I needed to decide though when we'd go to Ocean Park since you need to choose the date upon purchase. So I mapped out what we'd do every day. Yes, I'm a bit of a freak like that.

  Now there was probably something wrong with my credit card when I bought my Disneyland tickets because I got charged without getting my tickets confirmation code for Disneyland. I was a bit frazzled because those tickets were expensive. My first order of business was calling my credit card hotline where they told me that the couldn't cancel the transaction because it was still on a floating basis. I was pissed because what's the use of the sms notifications to call their hotline if I can't do anything? They did however tell me to call Disneyland and have it canceled there.
  Wow, I have to make an international call? That is going to end up so expensive. However I came upon this service called Roamer that only charges cents on the dollar for SIP calls. So I loaded up 10 euros worth of credits and called HK Disneyland. I only got charged about $0.12 for 12 mins and it was very good quality. In the end, I was very impressed with the customer service of HK Disneyland because they were able to cancel it before the charge came through on my credit card. If it was on my credit card I would have ended up with 45 to 60 days disputing the charges.

Check the weather
  Also, be aware of the weather. I was expecting cool weather but in fact it was quite warm. Good thing we had a friend who was there a few days ahead of us and she told me frankly to go in a shirt and shorts. So I tossed out my scarf, hat and long sleeves. I swapped in my t-shirts and shorts. I did the same for kiddo since we were sharing one maleta. I also packed his medicine for allergies, colds, fever and cough.

Be prepared.
  I had double print outs of all our tickets and reservations plus photocopies of our passports stowed in our luggage. These were also accessible online via my storage accounts in case anything happened. I also prepped kiddo to know what the name of the hotel we were staying in was.

Was it enough? Find out in my next posts.



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